Tag Archives: sleep

Sleep as a new 8th measure of cardiovascular health

Study using the American Heart Association framework provides evidence that sleep is integral to preserving heart health.

Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health evaluated an expanded measure of cardiovascular health (CVH) that includes sleep as an eighth metric, in relation to cardiovascular disease risk. This represents the first examination of adding sleep to the American Heart Association’s original Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) metrics as a novel eighth metric of CVH. The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

The study sample consisted of ~2000 middle-aged to older adults from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), an ongoing U.S. study of CVD and CVD risk factors, who participated in a sleep exam and provided comprehensive data on their sleep characteristics.

The research evaluated multiple expanded cardiovascular health scores –including the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 (LS7) metrics — plus different sleep health measures, to evaluate which sleep parameters should be prioritized for CVD prevention.  This study is the first to show that sleep metrics add independent predictive value for CVD events over and above the original 7 CVH metrics.

Importantly, cardiovascular health scores that included sleep duration only as a measure of overall sleep health as well as cardiovascular health scores that included multiple dimensions of sleep health (i.e. sleep duration, efficiency, and regularity, daytime sleepiness, and sleep disorders) were both predictive of future CVD. For the sleep duration metric, sleeping 7 hours or more but less than 9 hours each night was considered indicative of ideal sleep health.

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Researchers find ways to help teens get more sleep

Adjusting to a new sleep schedule at the start of the school year can lead to disturbed rest, daytime fatigue and changes in mood and focus for teens. 

Although they need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night to maintain physical health, emotional well-being and school performance, according to the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, most adolescents get less than eight, especially on school nights.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Newly published research from RUSH in the journal SLEEP sheds light on how adolescents can get more shut-eye. 

“There are a lot of changes a teen goes through,” said Stephanie J. Crowley, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the director of the Pediatric Chronobiology and Sleep Research Program at RUSH. “One specifically is a change to sleep biology that happens during puberty.” 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

NIH-funded study shows sound sleep supports immune function

Getting a consistent good night’s sleep supports normal production and programming of hematopoietic stem cells, a building block of the body’s innate immune system, according to a small National Institutes of Health-supported study in humans and mice. Sleep has long been linked to immune function, but researchers discovered that getting enough of it influenced the environment where monocytes – a type of white blood cell – form, develop, and get primed to support immune function. This process, hematopoiesis, occurs in the bone marrow. 

Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels.com

The study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine(link is external).

“What we are learning is that sleep modulates the production of cells that are the protagonists – the main actors – of inflammation,” said Filip K. Swirski, Ph.D., a senior study author and director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City. “Good, quality sleep reduces that inflammatory burden.”  

4 Comments

Filed under good night's sleep, inflammation, sleep, sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep makes us less generous

Humans help each other — it’s one of the foundations of civilized society. But a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, reveals that a lack of sleep blunts this fundamental human attribute, with real-world consequences.

Photo by Ivan Oboleninov on Pexels.com

Lack of sleep is known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, hypertension and overall mortality. However, these new discoveries show that a lack of sleep also impairs our basic social conscience, making us withdraw our desire and willingness to help other people.

1 Comment

Filed under good night's sleep, sleep, sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep makes us less generous – Study

Humans help each other — it’s one of the foundations of civilized society. But a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, reveals that a lack of sleep blunts this fundamental human attribute, with real-world consequences.

A new study by UC Berkeley scientists shows how sleep loss dramatically reduced the desire to help others, triggered by a breakdown in the activity of key prosocial brain networks.

Lack of sleep is known to be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, hypertension and overall mortality. However, these new discoveries show that a lack of sleep also impairs our basic social conscience, making us withdraw our desire and willingness to help other people.

In one portion of the new study, the scientists showed that charitable giving in the week after the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, when residents of most states “spring forward” and lose one hour of their day, dropped by 10% — a decrease not seen in states that do not change their clocks or when states return to standard time in the fall.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Study of sleep in older adults suggests nixing naps, striving for 7-9 hours a night – AHA

Napping, as well as sleeping too much or too little or having poor sleep patterns, appears to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in older adults, new research shows.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, adds to a growing body of evidence supporting sleep’s importance to good health. The American Heart Association recently added sleep duration to its checklist of health and lifestyle factors for cardiovascular health, known as Life’s Essential 8. It says adults should average seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

“Good sleep behavior is essential to preserve cardiovascular health in middle-aged and older adults,” said lead author Weili Xu, a senior researcher at the Aging Research Center in the department of neurobiology, care sciences and society at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. “We encourage people to keep nighttime sleeping between seven to nine hours and to avoid frequent or excessive napping.”

Prior research has shown poor sleep may put people at higher risk for a range of chronic illnesses and conditions affecting heart and brain health. These include cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 35% of U.S. adults say they get less than seven hours of sleep, while 3.6% say they get 10 or more hours.

Previous sleep duration studies show that sleeping too much or too little both may raise the risk for cardiovascular disease. But whether napping is good or bad has been unclear.

In the new study, researchers analyzed sleep patterns for 12,268 adults in the Swedish Twin Registry. Participants were an average of 70 years old at the start of the study, with no history of major cardiovascular events.

A questionnaire was used to collect data on nighttime sleep duration; daytime napping; daytime sleepiness; the degree to which they considered themselves a night person or morning person, based on the time of day they considered themselves most alert; and symptoms of sleep disorders, such as snoring and insomnia. Participants were followed for up to 18 years to track whether they developed any major cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and stroke.

People who reported sleeping between seven and nine hours each night were least likely to develop cardiovascular disease, a finding in keeping with prior research. Compared with that group, those who reported less than seven hours were 14% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and those who reported more than 10 hours were 10% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Compared with people who said they never napped, those who reported napping up to 30 minutes were 11% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. The risk increased by 23% if naps lasted longer than 30 minutes. Overall, those who reported poor sleep patterns or other sleep issues – including insomnia, heavy snoring, getting too much or too little sleep, frequent daytime sleepiness and considering themselves a night person – had a 22% higher risk

Study participants who reported less than seven hours of sleep at night and napping more than 30 minutes each day had the highest risk for cardiovascular disease – 47% higher than those reporting the optimal amount of sleep and no naps.

The jury is still out on whether naps affect cardiovascular risk across the lifespan, said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, center director for the Sleep Center of Excellence and an associate professor at Columbia University in New York City. She noted that the new research, which she was not involved in, was restricted to older adults.

Rather than trying to recoup sleep time by napping, people should try to develop healthier sleep habits that allow them to get an optimal amount of sleep at night, St-Onge said. This includes making sure the sleep environment is not too hot or cold or too noisy. Reducing exposure to bright light before going to sleep, not eating too late at night, getting enough exercise during the day and eating a healthful diet also help.

“Even if sleep is lost during the night, excessive napping is not suggested during the day,” Xu said. And, if people have persistent trouble getting enough sleep, they should consult a health care professional to figure out why, she said.

5 Comments

Filed under good night's sleep, sleep, sleep aids, sleep deprivation

Insomnia in midlife may manifest as cognitive problems in retirement age

Long-term insomnia symptoms can pose a risk of poorer cognitive functioning later in life. This is why insomnia should be treated as early as possible, according to a new study.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The Helsinki Health Study at the University of Helsinki investigated the development of insomnia symptoms in midlife and their effects on memory, learning ability and concentration after retirement. The follow-up period was 15–17 years.

4 Comments

Filed under cognition, cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, insomnia, midlife

Enhancing Deep Sleep

Many people, especially the elderly, suffer from abnormal sleep. In particular, the deep sleep phases become shorter and shallower with age. Deep sleep is important for the regeneration of the brain and memory, and also has a positive influence on the cardiovascular system.

Researchers have shown that the brain waves characterizing deep sleep, so-​called slow waves, can be improved by playing precisely timed sounds through earphones while sleeping. While this works well in the sleep laboratory under controlled conditions, there has thus far been no at home solution that can be used longer than just one night.

SleepLoop to the rescue

As part of the SleepLoop project (see illustration), researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a mobile system that can be used at home and aims to promote deep sleep through auditory brain stimulation.

The SleepLoop system consists of a headband that is put on at bedtime and worn throughout the night. This headband contains electrodes and a microchip that constantly measure the brain activity of the person sleeping. Data from this is analysed autonomously in real-​time on the microchip using custom software. As soon as the sleeping person shows slow waves in the brain activity characterizing deep sleep, the system triggers a short auditory signal (clicking). This helps to synchronize the neuronal cells and enhance the slow waves. What makes the solution unique is that the person sleeping is not consciously aware of this sound during deep sleep.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Loss of Neurons, Not Lack of Sleep, Makes Alzheimer’s Patients Drowsy

The lethargy that many Alzheimer’s patients experience is caused not by a lack of sleep, but rather by the degeneration of a type of neuron that keeps us awake, according to a study that also confirms the tau protein is behind that neurodegeneration.

The study’s findings contradict the common notion that Alzheimer’s patients sleep during the day to make up for a bad night of sleep and point toward potential therapies to help these patients feel more awake.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The data came from study participants who were patients at UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center and volunteered to have their sleep monitored with electroencephalogram (EEG) and donate their brains after they died.

Leave a comment

Filed under Alzheimer's disease, sleep, sleep deprivation

Balance between sleep and exercise may be key to help osteoarthritis patients manage pain

Although osteoarthritis has no cure, researchers are developing a new intervention to improve patients’ chronic pain outcomes.

It may shoot through the hands while typing or flare in the knees when getting out of the car. Wherever the pain, over 32 million Americans living with osteoarthritis experience it.

Photo by Mike Jones on Pexels.com

To reduce that pain, patients living with the degenerative joint disease are often told to exercise.

It sounds simple.

But people with osteoarthritis may experience pain when they start to move more, which can be a deterrent to taking up, or sticking with, an exercise program.

“Pain during movement is an important reason why this population isn’t more active, and we need to identify ways we can help to change this,” said Daniel Whibley, Ph.D., research assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine. “Otherwise, they may end up in a loop of pain and inactivity that we know can lead to disability later down the line.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Poor sleep linked to feeling older and worse outlook on aging – Study

Poor sleep in the over 50s is linked to more negative perceptions of aging, which in turn can impact physical, mental and cognitive health, new research has revealed.

A study led by the University of Exeter found that people who rated their sleep the worst also felt older, and perceived their own physical and mental aging more negatively.

Photo by Ivan Oboleninov on Pexels.com

Lead author Serena Sabatini, of the University of Exeter, said: “As we age, we all experience both positive and negative changes in many areas of our lives. However, some people perceive more negative changes than others. As we know that having a negative perception of aging can be detrimental to future physical health, mental health, and cognitive health, an open question in aging research is to understand what makes people more negative about aging. Our research suggests that poor sleepers feel older, and have a more negative perception of their aging. We need to study this further – one explanation could be that a more negative outlook influences both. However, it could be a sign that addressing sleep difficulties could promote a better perception of aging, which could have other health benefits.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Better sleep habits may be key to better health – AHA

I have written about how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. You can check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? I was happy to see this information on the subject by the American Heart Association.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Improving your overall sleep health could help lower your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other cardiovascular threats, according to new research.

Experts already knew a lack of sleep and having sleep disorders can put health at risk. But the new study looked into whether the multiple factors that go into a good night’s sleep are collectively associated with health risks.

To measure overall sleep health, the researchers created a multi-dimensional score based on the average amount of sleep each night, the consistency of bedtime and wake-up times, and how long it takes to fall asleep. They also factored in excessive daytime sleepiness and symptoms of sleep disorders such as snoring and difficulty breathing during sleep.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bedtime linked to heart health – ESC

 Going to sleep between 10:00 and 11:00 pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared to earlier or later bedtimes, according to a study published in European Heart Journal – Digital Health, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

“The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning,” said study author Dr. David Plans of the University of Exeter, UK. “While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.”

While numerous analyses have investigated the link between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease, the relationship between sleep timing and heart disease is under-explored. This study examined the association between objectively measured, rather than self-reported, sleep onset in a large sample of adults.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

DOD funds study to improve sleep, clearance of the brain

The U.S. Department of Defense is funding the first human trial of a device to speed up and enhance the natural system of brain cleansing that occurs when we sleep. 

The trial will be conducted among 90 people at three trial sites – University of North Carolina, University of Washington School of Medicine, and a collaboration between Oregon Health & Science University and the Brain Electrophysiology Laboratory (BEL). Results are expected in the fall of 2022.

Functional prototype to test in-home sleep treatment. Electronics and battery are perched on top of the head. Next generation of the device will have electronics/battery integrated in the headband.

Recent discoveries point to the importance of quality sleep for clearance of brain metabolic waste through the newly-discovered brain glymphatic system. If sleep is disrupted, so are these crucial processes, leading to cognitive impairment – things like faulty motor coordination, attention deficits, slower processing speed, decreased decision-making capabilities, and hampered short-term memory, in addition to increasing risk of neurodegenerative disease later in life. These issues can have life-or-death consequences for service members in the U.S. military, which is why the Department of Defense is funding innovative research initiatives, including this three-year, $4.3-million, project with the ultimate goal of helping service members overcome acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep restriction.

The scientists leading this effort are from UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Washington School of Medicine, the Brain Electrophysiology Lab Oregon Health & Science University, and Montana State University.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Cognitive decline may follow too much or too little sleep

Like so many other good things in life, sleep is best in moderation. A multiyear study of older adults found that both short and long sleepers experienced greater cognitive decline than people who slept a moderate amount, even when the effects of early Alzheimer’s disease were taken into account. The study was led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Photo by Fabricio Trujillo on Pexels.com

Poor sleep and Alzheimer’s disease are both associated with cognitive decline, and separating out the effects of each has proven challenging. By tracking cognitive function in a large group of older adults over several years and analyzing it against levels of Alzheimer’s-related proteins and measures of brain activity during sleep, the researchers generated crucial data that help untangle the complicated relationship among sleep, Alzheimer’s and cognitive function. The findings could aid efforts to help keep people’s minds sharp as they age.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Improving sleep and other lifestyle factors keys to better brain health

Sleep is our body’s way of restoring its vital organs including the brain. But what happens when sleep is elusive over a long period of time? Research shows that the lack of consistent sleep can impact our brains in negative ways and increase our risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

A research review in Nature Communications recently concluded that persistent short sleep durations of six hours or less at age 50, 60 and 70, as compared to a normal night’s sleep of seven hours, was associated with a 30% increase in dementia risk. The study looked at research that followed participants for 10 years or more.

So, what happens in our brains while we sleep? “Sleep is a restorative function,” explained Jeremy Pruzin, MD, a memory care expert at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix. “While we sleep the brain repairs synapses and clears substances, including the beta-amyloid protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized